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In this article we will explore how long does Tramadol stay in your system and as such is potentially detectable in a drug screening test. This article provides guidelines on how long it stays in blood and urine and is detectable via drug testing. It also points out factors that can affect its clearance from the body.
Tramadol is an opioid prescription medication used to treat pain. Tramadol is a synthetic medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain symptoms. It binds to receptors in the brain that transmit pain (opioid receptors), leading to a reduction in the sensation of pain. Doctors sometimes prescribe tramadol in combination with other medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to ease pain due to a variety of conditions.
- As an opioid, Tramadol is highly addictive
How Long Does It Take For Tramadol To “Kick In”
Tramadol, like many drugs, is metabolized extensively by the liver. Once the liver breaks down into its metabolites or breakdown products, it travels to the kidneys where the metabolites are excreted in the urine.
- After taking a dose of tramadol, the medication is absorbed from the digestive tract and reaches peak levels in the blood around 1.6 hours after taking it.
How Long Does Tramadol Stay In Your System?
How can testing pick it up in blood and urine? Here’s a good answer:
- In most cases, tramadol will be undetectable in blood or urine 2 to 4 days after the last dose
- Extended-release tramadol may be detectable a bit longer
- Tramadol may be retained longer in people who use high doses or take tramadol for long periods of time
- Taking multiple medications or using alcohol may impact the metabolism of tramadol and how long it’s detectable in blood or urine
Tramadol will show up in hair samples for longer periods, as long as a few weeks to a few months after the final dose. Gender, whether a person is male or female, doesn’t significantly impact how long the medication stays in the body. Keep in mind that standard drug screens don’t typically test for tramadol in blood or urine. However, it is part of an extended drug screen or toxicology panel.
Genes Play A Big Role In Metabolizing Tramadol
How quickly tramadol is metabolized varies based on genetic factors. People have variations in genes, called CYP2D6, that break down tramadol. These variations affect how the medication works as well as how quickly it’s metabolized and eliminated in the urine.
- Seven to ten percent of Caucasians have a variation in these genes and this causes them to break down tramadol more slowly
Other genes also play a role in how quickly tramadol is metabolized and how well the medication relieves pain. People who are slow metabolizers tend to not get the same degree of pain relief as those who metabolize the medication at a faster rate. Slow metabolizers of tramadol also retain the drug longer, meaning it will show up in the blood for longer periods of time after a dose. How long the drug stays in the body is also affected by liver and kidney function. People who have certain types of liver or kidney disease may retain tramadol in their system longer.
How Long Tramadol Lasts
Determining how long does tramadol stay effective in the body, is always a function of its half-life;
- In the case of Tramadol, on average, the half-life of tramadol is 5 to 6 hours.
This means that half the medication, on average, is detectable in the body 5 to 6 hours after the last dose. After another 5 to 6 hours, half of the remaining amount will still be present and so on. It takes a number of half-lives to completely eliminate a drug from the body. Keep in mind, slow metabolizers, as mentioned above, will hold on to the medication longer. So, this is only a basic guideline.
Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2014 Jul; 24(7): 374-380.doi: 10.1097/FPC.0000000000000057.
Pharmacy Times. “Narcotic Analgesics Metabolized by CYP2D6”
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